Metro Weekly

DC Strokes wins silver medal at Masters National Championships

This year's win brings the LGBT rowing club's total medals won since 2009 to 17

Members of the DC Strokes' silver medalist team (Credit: Paul Heaton).

Members of the DC Strokes’ silver medalist team (Credit: Paul Heaton).

This year’s U.S. Rowing Masters National Championships was a silver moment for members of the DC Strokes Rowing Club. 

The members of the Men’s Open 8+ team placed second at the championships, which were held in Camden, N.J. from Aug. 13-16. With more than 2,000 entries from 149 clubs, the Masters Nationals were the largest certified event in U.S. Rowing. 

DC Strokes sent 18 teams in total to the championships, with eight qualifying for the finals. Four other DC Strokes boats missed qualifying for the finals by less than one second. The club has a long history of top-three finishes since 2009, with 17 medals — 1 gold, 5 silver and 11 bronze — in total. 

For DC Strokes member Bach Polakowski, a member of the silver medal team, this year’s regatta was his first Masters Nationals, an experience he called “fantastic.”

“Our team fought for every second in every race to to make finals and win silver,” Polakowski said. “DC Strokes performed admirably, against fierce competition, with one of the strongest teams we’ve ever sent to Masters Nationals.

“Each year we bring more to the table and will continue to improve to best our record next year, Polakowski continued. “We’re looking forward to continuing to best our competition in our fall season, including in the Head of the Charles [regatta]. I am incredibly proud of my fellow rowers who put in hundreds of hours to prepare and pulled off an amazing performance against tough odds.”

DC Strokes Rowing Club is the oldest LGBT rowing club in the world, and provides both competitive and recreational rowing opportunities for rowers of all skill levels. For more information about the club, and its teams and programs, visit

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at